We noticed that you're using an unsupported browser. The TripAdvisor website may not display properly.We support the following browsers:
Windows: Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome. Mac: Safari.

Guided or self-guided hike of Corcovado??

new york
Level Contributor
53 posts
25 reviews
Guided or self-guided hike of Corcovado??

My husband and I are planning a trip for January 2007 and are avid hikers, but have never been to Costa Rica.

Our big choice is whether to hire Osa Aventuras for a 4-day hike from Los Patos to Sirena to San Pedrillo, where we'd see the whole park and the scenic areas near Drake Bay;

OR whether to save money and do a self-guided hike from Los Patos to Sirena to Carate (avoiding the problem rivercrossings to to Drake Bay).

Any recommendations or suggestions??

Thank you!

New York City, New...
Level Contributor
1,282 posts
1. Re: Guided or self-guided hike of Corcovado??

Hey, Laura. I was down there exploring independently last year picking up a guide here and there, and while it is most certainly possible to do whatever you want on your own, there's a good amount of legwork you'll need to do in advance to secure logistics and be familiar with some of the terrain challenges you'll face. The park ranger stations and facilities are first and foremost scientific stations and tourism is secondary, but that's part of what makes a visit there unique (no Disney whatsoever... at least not yet!). We enjoyed that aspect, but I've heard nothing but fantastic things about Mike Boston and his crew over at Osa Aventura. Looking at his prices and what he includes, keep in mind that if you go on your own you'll need to secure your own permits and lodging, transportation to and from your start/end points, figure out all meals and water, and also not have the guided expertise of people who know the wildlife, terrain and also will have you hiking in the middle of the night which you are unlikely to do on your own.

In terms of things to see, Los Patos to Sirena and then out to San Padrillo is fantastic, but you best be in good shape as it's many miles of hiking, particularly the last leg. If you go on your own, you could also fly into Puerto Jimenez, check in with the park HQ near the airstrip and then ground transfer by collectivo taxi ($7?) or private taxi ($50?) to Carate where you can spend the night at the La Leona Ecolodge, Corcovado Tent Camp, or head into the park itself and arrange to stay at the La Leona station. From there you can hike to Sirena, hang for two nights and explore from there, and then get up at 2 or 3 am to start hiking out to San Pedrillo where you'll have to have arranged in advance for one of the lodges in Drake Bay to pick you up by boat and transport you to Drake. After you stay in Drake, you can take a boat to Sierpe and continue on your trip either by ground or by flying back to San Jose from nearby Palmar Sur. You can also get to Los Patos from Puerto Jimenez, most easily by taking a taxi to Rio Sirena and hiking in a few miles but also by taking a bus part of the way and then either hitching or taking a long hike in from the road.

So after all this rambling what's my recommendation? Well, do the math and see what makes sense financially... Although I went independently, unless you have a lot of time on your hands to futz with logistics, I'm inclined to say go with Osa Aventura and get the most out of your time.

new york
Level Contributor
53 posts
25 reviews
2. Re: Guided or self-guided hike of Corcovado??

Mister Josh- Thanks for the comprehensive feedback. That is very helpful; we'll probably go with Michael Boston, if he's not booked already.

After this 5-day trip to Osa Peninsula, we'll just have 3 more days left in Costa Rica, since our whole trip is just 8 days long. We can't bear to leave our 2 and 3 yr old children for longer than that.

What would you recommend? We're tentatively thinking of flying back to San Jose, then taking a bus to Monteverde and stay there for 2 days before returning, but we're open to other suggestions if you have any.

Thanks again.


4 posts
3. Re: Guided or self-guided hike of Corcovado??


I am very exited about doing the whole hike completly solo, i beleive its a big challenge for me, and i love chalenges. Im not affraid of danger and im a very precaustious person. Would you recommence me to do it all by my self??

Will the guards even allow me to go all by my self. I hope guides and groups are not obligated. I never been to central america so i would not know.

Thanks in advance!


new york
Level Contributor
53 posts
25 reviews
4. Re: Guided or self-guided hike of Corcovado??


That's amazing that you're adventurous enough to do it by yourself. We did see some pairs of hikers who were hiking those OSA traila in groups of two or three with no guide. I would recommend that you hike with someone else, just in case you get lost or something happens. It's much safer.

I have no idea how do-able the hike is from the Serena ranger station to Drake Bay (San Pedrillo). We had planned to do the whole hike with our guide, from Los Patos to Sirena to San Pedrillo, but he found out that the river was too high to go from Sirena to San Pedrillo, so we took a boat. If we were on our own, I don't know if we would have been that smart to skip it. There are alligators out there, and you wouldn't want to have to wade in the water in that area too long.

However, there are a lot of travelers and guides hanging out at the ranger station and you can gather information you need if you can make it there, and can likely hire a boat if the river crossing is too dangerous.

So not having done that section from Sirena to San Pedrillo, I have no first hand advice. But from what I understand about it, it's best to go with someone knowledgable.


England, United...
Level Contributor
41 posts
85 reviews
5. Re: Guided or self-guided hike of Corcovado??

I agree that it is much better to go with someone who knows the terrain as it opens up a whole new experience.

We returned yesterday from the region and hiked to La Sirena from La Leona then spent time around the region for several days. Our guide (and family friend) is one of the best around and I would recommend him heartily. He has taken many trips into the jungle and is incredibly intuitive, knowledgeable and expert on every angle of the region as well as nature and animals on the trail.

He is also fluent in English and a terrific person to travel with. His name is Erick Ramirez Binns and you can reach him at ebinns14@hotmail.com (he also offers private tours of other regions of Costa Rica, including scuba and hiking trips)

Level Contributor
608 posts
6 reviews
6. Re: Guided or self-guided hike of Corcovado??

I thought I just read somewhere here on the forums that you can no longer go into Corcovado anymore without a guide. Has anyone else heard this?

Antigua, Guatemala
Level Contributor
2,958 posts
23 reviews
7. Re: Guided or self-guided hike of Corcovado??

Hi, It's true, you cannot go into Corcovado on your own anymore. You need to arrange it with a guide, either one who works directly with Corcovado or a tour operator. It's for safety measures.

Just get in touch with your hotel or an outfitter that specializes with Corcovado tours and they'll help you out.

Have fun,

Marina K. Villatoro


San Jose, Costa Rica
Level Contributor
52,462 posts
119 reviews
8. Re: Guided or self-guided hike of Corcovado??

I just come back from a trip to my farm in Drakes bay...but in the same time I drove to Carate...love Carate...I found a new place...well It has been there but they are building more rooms...the name!! I JUST LOVE THE NAME!....ISEAMI LODGE...love the name because is a BRI-BRI indian name that means "Our Mother" referring to Our Mother Nature...being myself a Costa Rica indian...make me very proud that somebody is giving us some kind of credit...SEAMI!!

SEAMI is just by OutLook Lodge...the price is... $85.00 per person INCLUDING 3 meals...

I'm so glad that finally somebody is charging decent prices.

You can mail: mariourpi@gmail.com

Just buckle up and enjoy the ride in PARADISE!

Puntarenas, Costa...
1 post
1 review
9. Re: Guided or self-guided hike of Corcovado??

Hi My name is Erick Ramirez and I'm Iam a Certified Naturalist tour Guide in Corcovado National Park if you need any feedback in putting this trip together... please reply to me and I will be more than happy to assit you

my email is ebinns14@hotmail.com or please visit my company's website www.detourcostarica.com and connect by my company's facebook... there you will see pictures of the different places and tours that we handle... i have over 15 year guiding experience all over Costa Rica and over 5 Year guiding at Corcovado national park

Please contact me... I will love to help you putting this wonderful trip together..

10. Re: Guided or self-guided hike of Corcovado??

-:- Message from TripAdvisor staff -:-

This topic has been closed to new posts due to inactivity. We hope you'll join the conversation by posting to an open topic or starting a new one.

To review the TripAdvisor Forums Posting Guidelines, please follow this link: http://www.tripadvisor.com/pages/forums_posting_guidelines.html

We remove posts that do not follow our posting guidelines, and we reserve the right to remove any post for any reason.

Removed on: 28 April 2010, 09:48
Get answers to your questions about Corcovado National Park